Living in Raleigh, NC, the land of tall pines and rolling green hills, I didn't realize how beautiful a cactus could be until our recent trip to San Diego. We were exploring a park when the late afternoon sun gently rested on this prickly beauty, softening the sharp edges with its warm glow. I knew immediately that this was a subject I wanted to paint!
I chose an 18x24" canvas and sketched the basic placement of the cactus and the shadows, being careful to include accurate lines that defined the roundness of the shape.
My first layer went on quickly, with bold colors and transparent paints. This part was really fun. I put a thin coat of purple along the sunlit rim of the cactus to enhance the glowing effect. While it was still wet, I wiped off paint to create the soft highlight area and also to create the prickly parts.
Applying opaque paints in the next layer took a lot longer, but I feel like I was able to capture the spirit of this sunlit moment the way I had envisioned.